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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: January 6, 2014.

There is a lot to like about this Little League baseball team’s story, the friendships they form, the faith in God they discover, strengthen and share as well as the lessons they learn about life and death.

The story centers on Zack, a non-Believer, and his relationship with Rafer.  It is 1974 (though the book upon which the film is based is set in ’71).  Rafer is autistic but he loves baseball.

As the story opens, he is sitting under a tree watching Zack and his Robins teammates, Donnie and Batman, scamper about on a baseball diamond, preparing for the ensuing season.  On a lark, Zack invites Rafer to take a turn at bat.  He does and when Zack pitches to him, he knocks the ball over the fence into the woods.

The boys on the baseball field. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

The boys decide Rafer must try out for the team.  If he makes it, perhaps the Robins will finally have a chance to defeat the perennial champion Hawks and not finish in third place yet again.

Scenarist Rusty Whitener, adapting his superb novel for the screen, brilliantly manages to tell two solid stories at the same time.

The first is a rousing sports tale that follows the Robins campaign towards victory.  Events take several surprising turns and necessary contributions come from unlikely and unexpected sources.  The final ball game is exciting and tense and a crowd-pleaser.

The second narrative from Whitener is woven through the first: a thoroughly moving chronicle of faith.

Zack doesn’t believe in God.  His mother does, but his strong-willed father does not and interferes when Zack exhibits curiosity.  But Zack does believe in Rafer.

Rafer doesn’t just believe in God – he lives his faith.  He loves everyone. He gives a stone to each member of the Robin’s roster as a token of his affection.  Few understand how to accept the odd gift.  Most see Rafer as some kind of freak – his autism is scary, since it makes him different – but one by one, they follow Zack’s lead and slowly come to make friends with the boy with the incredible swing and the best batting average in the League.

John Schneider as Coach Wayne Hornbuckle. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Donnie, the local pastor’s son, invites Zack, Rafer and the boys to church.  Rafer is right at home.  Zack notices and wonders if the boy may not know something everyone else has missed.  Zack begins to ask questions.

These questions start him on a journey of discovery.  The journey takes him to the squalid mobile home where Rafer lives with his scary father, ably played by author Whitener, where, in one of the film’s best scenes, Rafer’s batting ability is memorably demonstrated using eggs instead of balls.

It ultimately leads to a tearful scene in a hospital room where a major character battles for his life.  Everything is tied up in a pair of bookend scenes that open and close the film in modern times.

The actors playing the boys are likeable enough, if slightly amateurish. Parts of the cast deliver truly amazing performances.  As mentioned, Whitener does a very good job in his role as Rafer’s father.  John Schneider (Dukes of Hazard) is excellent as the Robins’ coach.  His acting expertise is on display in every scene in which he appears.  He’s natural and effective.

Nancy Stafford (Matlock, St. Elsewhere) is likewise sturdy in an important role as a nurse but is seen all too briefly and that’s a shame.  Her talent positively impacts every project in which she appears but sadly, she appears too little here.

John Schneider as Coach Wayne Hornbuckle. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Still, A Season Of Miracles is worth a look.  It would have immense appeal for a young audience.  Whether in high school, middle school or elementary, children empathize strongly with characters their own age.  This movie would resonate strongly with kids who are asking what life is all about and want to know more about Christianity.

Christian Worldview

Being autistic, Rafer is picked on by members of the Hawks, especially the catcher, appropriately named Booger.  Some bullying is depicted and there is a fight – though not too violent – when Zack and other Robins come to the rescue.

Rafer’s father is, initially, full of rage and in an intense early scene, he vents his wrath on the interior walls of the mobile home in which he lives with Rafer, knocking out huge holes with a baseball bat.

Other than these examples which, truly, are rather mild, the film is safe family viewing, no worse than any episode of The Andy Griffith Show, memories of which were evoked by this gentle tale of the Southern past.

There is tragedy and there is triumph, there is friendship and there is enmity, faith and despair, life and death.  Take a young person to see it. Let them experience the miracle season of Zack, Rafer and the Robins and one very special dog.

Biblical Discussion

A good topic for discussion: name some other stories about emissaries from God, sent to show us the way.  There are many popular novels, several for kids, which tell a similar story and plenty of movies, too.  What are some of the conventions of such stories? What usually happens to the character who is “different” from us?  Could an emissary ever be non-human, an animal, perhaps?  Super human?

An appropriate Bible verse to accompany the film is from Matthew 5:11: God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me.

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Rafer Believes.  He is picked on relentlessly by the Hawks.  It does not shake his faith in The Lord one bit.  Nor does it shake his love for Zack and his teammates.  If anything, his constant faith during hardship, both bullying and living with autism, inspire the other boys.

From Deuteronomy 18:15: The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. Though Donnie’s father is a pastor and he convinces Zack to come to church, Zack discovers Rafer is already there ahead of him. Rafer is the one who is “different” in more ways than one.  By his actions, by his life, he shows the boys the way to faith, through the stones he distributes among them, through his talents at the bat and most especially by what happens to him just before the big game.

But there is also a wonderful dog, Zack’s golden retriever.  The dog knows something the boys do not.  He takes to Rafer immediately and is often found curled up beside him or at his feet.  Something magical is going on.

See the movie and discover the Season of Miracles for yourself.  Be sure to take along a young person.  The one inside you.  You’ll both enjoy it.


Interested in this movie? Check out Season of Miracles – Official Trailer

To find more information please visit Season of Miracles on the Christian Film Database

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